Humpback whale surprises onlookers in Alaska

Posted at 3:19 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 15:19:59-04
Dramatic footage captured at an Alaskan fishing ground shows a humpback whale emerging from the water in all its glory, much to the delight, or perhaps fright, of onlookers.
Whale sightings are not uncommon in Alaska, where whale-watching tours are easy to find. But seeing one at a dock was the real shocker.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game points out that humpbacks returning from their winter migrations -- as many as 500 at a time -- tend to converge along the state's southeastern coast where food is in vast supply.
The Knudson Cove Marina in the coastal city of Ketchikan, where the whale was spotted, is reportedly home to large schools of herring. As the herring move closer to the docks to hide from their prey, the hungry humpbacks, in hot pursuit, follow.
"Feeding occurs almost exclusively during the summer months," the department adds, explaining that the animal rarely feeds while migrating to tropical waters during the winter season.
"Each humpback whale eats up to 1.5 tons of food per day that consists mainly of euphausiids (krill), and various small schooling fishes."
Over its lifespan of 40 to 50 years, the department estimates, the endangered species may grow up to 49 feet and weigh as much as 35 tons.